September 19, 2014

mornings, revisited...

further thoughts on mornings |
Oh, mornings. You're finally wearing me down. In a good way, though. Our love/hate relationship is starting to become more love than hate, which is rather unexpected—and fantastic.

I'm trying so hard to embrace rising before the sun, given that I have a child who has always been an early riser. If I want some time to center myself before a full day, I have no choice but to drag myself out of bed when Jay's alarm goes off just before 6AM. I've always wished so hard that I could be an early bird, someone who thrives in the earliest part of each day, who doesn't want to lash out irrationally before coffee, checking my phone, nibbling a bagel.

But I'm learning that if it's worth it to you, sometimes you have to force the liking. And for me, it is worth it. I rarely regret waking up early. I even do this weird reverse-psychology thing with myself the night before, getting myself all pumped up about the morning (which always arrives much too soon). How awesome! You get to have at least 30 minutes before Eisley wakes up to do whatever you want! Sky's the limit, self! It's like you're adding extra hours to the day! Victory is mine!

On the ideal day, I'll wake up a little before Jay's alarm, so I have time to gather my thoughts and start going through my list of things-to-do. Before launching into mommy-mode, I'll be able to enjoy the quiet of the morning. Open the blinds to cool the house before the inevitably hot afternoon arrives, savor each perfectly-clean room (hastily tidied the night before) as I walk towards the kitchen, make a perfect cup of coffee, turn on the computer to answer an email or two, take a peek at my planner. Above all, this is the best time I've found for me to do my journaling and devotions, and I can always, always feel a difference in my overall attitude and outlook for the day when I do them during the first part of the day.

Granted, this ideal morning doesn't always happen. It doesn't even happen the majority of the time, at this point. Just this morning, Eisley woke up right after Jay and I. (Room sharing isn't the best when an alarm must be set for 5:50AM!) But I've finally started working towards creating the habit of waking up early, which means I now look forward to doing these little extra things. Which means I've almost stopped resenting early mornings altogether.


Inevitably, whether I'm up before or after my daughter wakes up, the morning begins, calling me to action.

Mommy, I'm ready for my cereal! Can you set out the options on the table? Mommy, can I have toast with peanut butter and honey? Put on a show, please! So, where are we going today? I'd like my hair in two braids. No, one braid. No, two. No, just a ponytail. A PONYTAIL BRAID!

I rather like her little voice chirping at me first thing after she wakes up. She's (almost) always so full of energy and sunshine. Although peace and quiet are but distant memories, there is a certain charm to this stage of motherhood. When she's a brooding teenager, I know I'll want nothing more than to rewind and relive these mornings.

And who knows? Along the way, maybe I will become an early bird. Weirder things have happened. I just have to keep remembering how much more peaceful and patient I am when I give myself the gift of a little time to myself. It's always worth it. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Further reading: My thoughts on mornings from 2011 and 2012.

September 15, 2014

healthy living goals for thirty...

5 Healthy Living Goals for age 30 | yourwishcake
Since reaching the ripe ol' age of thirty, I've thought a lot about how my goals for the future have changed significantly. At least compared to how they were in my early twenties (lose 15 pounds, buy something fancy, be a little bit famous, etc.). Inspired by my purchase of this bundle, I thought I'd write down and share five of my own, personal, healthy living goals for the next year, and which resources from this bundle I will be using to help accomplish these goals. Ready? Okay! (Insert overly-enthusiastic cheerleader clap here.)

Add more whole, organic foods into our everyday diet

We are almost 100% vegetarian here at home (except for the days I have intense cravings for pepperoni or lunch meat), and I've been thinking a lot about how I don't want to be a lazy vegetarian. I've done pretty well making sure we eat veggies with every dinner together and do a pretty good job of getting a couple extra servings here and there, but I have a lot of work to do when it comes to reaching the actual recommended number of servings. I'm eager to dive into the following ebooks within the bundle for inspiration (find more info on these and others here!): From Scratch by Shaye Elliot, Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook by Christy Greer and Jessica Aveni, Making Organic Food Affordable by Tara Wagner, and 22 Days to a Fresh Start.

Find an exercise routine that sticks

I keep thinking I've found a routine that works (and has longevity) but I'm currently struggling. I blame the heat for my running sabbatical, but I know being active most days is better for my heart, soul and ability to drink a couple margaritas on the weekend. One of the bonuses in the bundle is a 4-month membership to, and I can't wait to take advantage of it. Some days, it's nice to have an alternative to a 30 minute run, and I'm eager to learn what this virtual yoga studio has to offer. (Learn more about the other bonuses within the bundle here!)

Consistently meal plan for the week/month

In the past year or so, I've made awesome progress when it comes to meal planning, but it's not really that organized and I definitely don't buckle down to do it every week. This means I resort to frozen pizza and ravioli a little too often. There are 8 ebooks and resources on meal planning within the bundle, and I'm definitely tempted to go through each of them to help kickstart my own meal planning! There is also a set of 25 adorable printables to help organize your monthly meal planning and weekly menu. (You can find a list of all these resources here!)

Switch over to homemade, natural cleaners

A while ago, I posted about the first homemade cleaner I made, and since then I've been eager to switch over as many other cleaning/home products to the natural versions. I've already started reading  Clean & Simple by Stephanie Langford, which includes a bunch of recipes that are made with only 7 inexpensive ingredients (which may or may not already be added to my Amazon cart). If I actually make my own laundry soap, someone owes me a (gluten free?) cookie. (Take a peek at the other ebooks on Green Cleaning here!)

Figure out what the heck Essential Oils are

Everyone keeps raving about these things called Essential Oils and I really have no idea what's going on, even if I smile and nod every time they're mentioned. One of the eCourses included in this bundle is on Essential Oils and Natural Health (worth $95, sweet mercy), and I am looking forward to discovering what it is all about. I may become an essential oil convert yet!

I posted a full run-down of the Healthy Living Bundle I'm promoting earlier last week, but I had to give it one last shout out, since the sale ends right before midnight tonight (Monday the 14th)! You can get the full details on all the resources available within the bundle right over here (including 73 ebooks, 7 eCourses and a bunch of freebies). I'm recommending this product because I have one of my own that I'm already diving into, and it is making me so excited about the goals I have set—because they're giving me easy-to-use, actionable resources to help work towards them.

If you're interested in purchasing this bundle (before it's gone!), click below before midnight tonight (or forever hold your peace):

I'm definitely not a health or fitness blogger (nor do I plan on becoming one!) but I love having this blog as an outlet to share these specific hopes and goals.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask within the comments! In the year ahead, as I work through completing these five goals, I'll be sharing my progress and letting you know about any successes…and maybe failures (but is a bowl of Trix at 9PM considered a failure when I'm covering it with organic milk?).

Affiliate links are included in this post. I receive a commission on each bundle sold through my personal links. (Thank you for supporting me with your purchase!) Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle!

September 14, 2014

my weekly to-dos...

 photo todolist_zps3bd9dd24.jpg
I don't have many words for this past week, because the heat has taken away my will to write. (Or, at the very least, to blow-dry my hair or wear something other than a camisole and a maxi skirt every day of my life). Anyhow, as far as I can tell, the week ahead should slowly take us out of this late-summer heatwave, and for that I am grateful. (A temperature of 88 has never seemed so appealing!)

We have also had a crew working on rewiring our entire duplex for the past couple weekends, which has been a bit overwhelming. (Call me crazy, but I don't like finding tiny bits of wire all over our home—whether in the sink, my purse pockets or our bed.) The whole place has been in some sort of disarray for a while now (at least by my own standards) and I'm ready to have working outlets in our kitchen and bathroom again, as well as no longer having random wall-holes and dirty handprints all over our cabinets. I haven't handled the whole thing very well, and for the past couple weeks my patience and grace have been…well, close to nonexistent.

This is just one of the downsides to renting. The landlord can make a call and there's not much you can do about it. I guess I just hate having a reminder that the place we live is not really ours at all. Does that make sense?

Here's a look at last week's to-do list, as well as a new list for the week ahead:

Last week's goals:

Marriage, Motherhood & Home Life
 — Meet with financial advisor
 — Plan date-night for this month
 — Take Eisley somewhere new

 — Get back to early mornings (didn't wake early every morning, but most days I was up before Eisley!)
 — Be active every day
 — Daily devotions/journaling
 — Finish reading one book (almost done with Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, just finished The Nesting Place, which I absolutely adored!)

 — Make 5 items to list in the shop (made a bunch of headbands, but I'm not sure whether I will list them quite yet)
 — Finish album for Eisley's 1st birthday

 — Earn at least one $5 gift card from Swagbucks (earned 3 thanks to completing a special offer!)

Here's a closer look at some of last week's goals:

My in-laws gifted me an Etsy gift certificate for my birthday, and part of it went towards this gorgeous prayer journal that I had been eying for some time. The lettering is beautiful, and I love that it is undated (I will most likely begin in October, although it's tough to wait!). You can find it yourself here at Val Marie Paper. They also have a kid's journal that is just precious!

As I mentioned before, Eisley and I ventured to a new park last week, which was all kinds of fun. We're very lucky to live somewhere with what seems to be an unlimited amount of parks within a 30 minute range! Once it cools down, I'd love to try to make it to a new park every week during October. (Also, for the record, she refused to smile for this photo until I told her I had a fruit rollup in my purse. Victory!)

Here's another peek at some of the hair bows I made. The colors are making me all swoony. It feels good to be making a dent in the pile of fabric I've had taking up space for ages!

This week's goals:

Marriage, Motherhood & Home Life
 — Plan date night
 — Work on patience with Eisley (I've been dreadfully out of patience lately)
 — Complete workbooks with Eisley 4-5 times
 — Deep clean/organize crafting nook

 — Make it though the week without any additional crabby-lady meltdowns
 — Finish reading one book

 — Decide whether or not to continue selling my crafts at local shop
 — Start working on new blog design
 — Research online classes for web design

 — Send one piece of snail mail

I hope the week ahead is a lovely one for us all! If you end up blogging about your own to-do list, definitely be sure to let me know.

Affiliate links included in this post. Yep, yep.